'He has shown for 15 years now that he is one of the greatest players of all time.'
Australia skipper Aaron Finch on Monday said it will take a very brave man to write Virat Kohli off and what the former India captain has achieved in the last 15 years is just 'ridiculous'.
Kohli overcame a prolonged lean patch at the Asia Cup earlier this month and also scored his 71st international century -- his first hundred since November 2019.
"It will be a very brave man to write Virat Kohli off. At any stage, he has shown for 15 years now that he is one of the greatest players of all time," Finch said on the eve of the series-opener against India in Mohali.
"Particularly in T20 cricket, he's someone who has developed and grown his game over such a long period that you always plan and prepare the best when you are coming up against him.
"He is super and has 71 international centuries. That's just ridiculous."
Finch will be in focus during the three-match T20I series after he announced his retirement from ODIs following his struggles with the bat. He will be looking to get back among the runs ahead of the T20 World Cup at home, starting next month.
"Over a long period of time, you get pretty comfortable with criticism but in T20 cricket, I feel my form has been really good for quite a while now. I think if you separate the ODI form and the T20 form, then they a're totally different, they are two different formats of the game," said the right-hander.
Australia will go about their plans in India with one eye on the World Cup at home where the conditions will be very different. The Finch-led side go into the ICC event as defending champions.
"Every decision that we make, I think, has one eye towards the World Cup and seeing the wicket yesterday, it looked like there was quite a bit of grass on it," Finch said.
"And we know in Mohali, the ball can swing around and it can carry through quite a bit, so I think we will be mindful of not being too narrow-minded in terms of our focus.
"What we have tried to do over the last sort of six-eight-ten months is make sure that everything that we are doing in the T20 space ties back into the World Cup and, for us, it's about making sure that once we get there that we've had plenty of different combinations of teams that we can play."
Australia have rested a few of their senior players including David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell March for the India series.
T20 globetrotter Tim David, who has played international cricket for Singapore, is set to make his Australia debut. He is being seen as the X-factor in the squad.
Finch confirmed that Steve Smith will bat at number three on Tuesday.
"Most likely he (Smith) will bat at three in this series with Mitch Marsh being out. We know the quality that Steve's got. He is one of the best players that has ever played the game over all formats of the game. So we know the skill that he's got and the game sense and the tactical nous that he's got.
"So we are really confident that regardless of what role he has to play within the structure of the squad, that he can do that very, very well," he said.
The captain also spoke highly of all-rounder Cameron Green who is nicely developing as an all format player.
"I think his ability to bat at five, six, seven in the one-day team has been really impressive.
"The fact that such a young guy was able to guide us home in a really tricky run chase, in a great partnership with Alex Carey in the recent series against New Zealand, shows that he's got all the tricks and the game sense for such a young guy to be super successful in all three formats for Australia.
"He's just such a great kid, someone who continues to impress with everything that he does," Finch added.